Ispit in the wind and hope for the best, that’s what Lawrence Weiner recommends to everyone who streams across the exhibition square into the halls of Art Basel. The floor installation by the concept artist, who died a few months ago, resembles the hopping game “Heaven and Hell” and invites you to join in: you can playfully assume a position and hop towards the future, which is always out of sight. Perhaps these days it is too hot for such gymnastics; the will to finally be able to see, buy or sell art like before the pandemic is probably overpowering. In any case, people rush purposefully across the boxes painted on the asphalt to where it’s really important: to the stands of 289 galleries from five continents with works by more than four thousand artists.
This is pretty much the pre-pandemic level for the world’s most important art fair at its home location, which was canceled there and then had to be postponed under Corona conditions. Now that all restrictions have fallen in Switzerland, she returns in full force for the June date; the core brand of a trade fair company on a growth course that has only just underpinned its ambitions with an announced offshoot in Paris.
But growth needs capital, especially in view of the pandemic-related slumps, which were still clearly noticeable in Hong Kong this year. The MCH Group was kept liquid by James Murdoch, whose Lupa Systems invested a whopping 48 million francs in 2020 and holds a good 32 percent of the shares. MCH restructured, Florian Faber will soon be the new CEO. But that’s not enough, a capital increase to secure liquidity is needed. Lupa Systems wants to give 34 million francs. The canton of Basel-Stadt, the second anchor shareholder, is expected to contribute just as much. Meanwhile, reports the “Basler Zeitung”, the investment fund Xanadu Alpha is once again expressing interest in buying Art Basel. MCH waves it off and, like the director of Art Basel, Marc Spiegler, reaffirms its commitment to the location on the Rhine.
“How To Grow in Times of Change” is also the question above the course of 21 interventions with which Art Basel is anchoring itself in the city center. The Mexican Bosco Sodi, represented by the König Gallery (Berlin, London, Seoul, Vienna) and Kasmin (New York), takes this literally. He allows visitors to his installation “Tabula rasa” to take clay balls with seeds home. Meanwhile, Alicia Kwade, also represented by König, invites you to meditate on our seat in the universe in a secluded garden: Eight stone balls, mounted individually on, in or under a bronze chair, can be seen in her installation “Les Sieges des Mondes” (520,000 euros ) stand for planets, compressed millions of years, the impossibility of location. It could hardly be more timeless. On the other hand, the bronze sculpture of a naked trans person, the self-portrait of the artist Puppies Puppies, is based on current discussions. The word “Woman” is engraved in the base. The galleries Balice Hertling (Paris), Francesca Pia (Zurich) and Barbara Weiss (Berlin) are behind it.
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